Russia Draws On Chinese Expertise And Technology To Clamp Down On Internet Users Even More
from the this-could-be-the-start-of-something-big-but-not-so-beautiful dept
There seems to be some kind of unspoken competition between Russia and China to see who can clamp down on the Internet the most. Techdirt readers might like to offer their own views in the comments as to who is winning that unlovely race. But the days of repressive rivalry are drawing to a close; according to this article in the Guardian, Russia has decided that it would be much simpler to borrow some of China’s ideas:
Russia has been working on incorporating elements of China’s Great Firewall into the “Red Web”, the country’s system of internet filtering and control, after unprecedented cyber collaboration between the countries.
Just as important as the ideas is the actual technology:
The Russians apparently see no other option than to invite Chinese heavyweights into the heart of its IT strategy. “China remains our only serious ‘ally’, including in the IT sector,” said a source in the Russian information technology industry, adding that despite hopes that Russian manufacturers would fill the void created by sanctions “we are in fact actively switching to Chinese”.
That Russian source is clearly trying to suggest that this new partnership is all the fault of the West for imposing those silly economic sanctions, and that this could have been avoided if everybody had stayed friends. But the coziness between Russia and China has been coming for a while, as their geopolitical ambitions align increasingly, so the collaboration over surveillance and censorship technologies would probably have happened anyway. The interesting question is how the new alliance might blossom if the future Trump administration starts to reduce its engagement with the international scene to concentrate on domestic matters. The new Sino-Russian digital partnership could be just the start of something much bigger, but probably not more beautiful.